“This is my first Cubs game!” shouted 3rd grader Jocelyn from Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science Academy, as she walked off the school bus that just transported her Work to Play soccer team from Elmwood Park to “The Friendly Confines.” Jocelyn along with over 300 Urban Initiatives players from Attucks, Claremont, Sherman, Tarkington, Nobel, Bethune, Libby, Jenner, Morton, and Walsh received the special opportunity to see the Chicago Cubs battle their division rivals the St. Louis Cardinals over the span of two nights in mid April.
For many of our players it was their first ever trip to the greatest ballpark in the world and their first time seeing the Chicago Cubs play live and in person. Eyes have never been so brightly lit up and smiles have never been wider as students filed off of their busses and walked toward the gates. Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters were also in awe as they laid their eyes on Wrigley Field.
As soon as UI players and their families made it to their seats the cheering for the Cubs began almost immediately. Every UI player belted out “Let’s Go Cubbies” and “Go Cubs Go” cheers during every Cubs pitch and Cubs at bat. Shouting proudly for their favorite players such as Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair and Matt Garza UI players and their family members surely had a blast at the ballpark that brisk April evening.
A player from Libby added, “Coach Cris thanks for getting us these tickets, my dad is having lots of fun!” The young player’s father mentioned to Coach Cris that this was the first Cubs game he had been to since he was a kid when his father took him.
The Cubs game also served as an opportunity to have the On Site Program Directors from the different schools in attendance meet one another and get acquainted before the spring season was in full swing. Parents from other schools also had the chance to talk to each other and learn about the different schools and neighborhoods that represent Urban Initiatives.
Aside from the constant jubilation from every player in attendance, once of the greatest sights was when UI players recognized each other from Friday game days. Players from all across the city of Chicago came together to watch one of the greatest baseball teams in history and they did it as apart of the Urban Initiatives team.